Third ‘Armed Bank Withdrawal’ In A Week In Lebanon

Abed Soubra, a depositor who stormed a bank demanding to withdraw his frozen savings, speaks from the window of the Blom Bank branch in the capital Beirut’s Tariq al-Jdideh neighbourhood on September 16, 2022. (Photo by Ibrahim AMRO / AFP)

 

 

A Lebanese man carrying a gun and a jerrican of fuel withdrew his frozen savings at gunpoint Friday, the third such incident in the crisis-hit country this week.

When a branch of the Byblos bank opened in the southern town of Ghaziyeh, a depositor, reported to be in his 50s, stormed the premises with his adult son.

He threatened bank employes with a gun, which a Lebanese TV channel said may have been a toy, and demanded his savings.

“He emptied a jerrican of fuel on the floor,” a bank security guard told an AFP reporter.

The man walked away with around $19,000 and turned himself in to the police moments later as a crowd formed in front of the bank to support him.

It was the latest in a series of heists in Lebanon, where the savings of depositors have been devalued and trapped in banks for almost three years amid a crippling economic crisis.

They are usually acts of economic desperation by depositors with no criminal record trying to settle bills, and have drawn wide sympathy among the general public.

 

The glass facade of a bank in the Lebanese capital Beirut is broken, after a woman stormed it demanding access to her sister’s deposits to allegedly pay for her hospital fees, on September 14, 2022. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO / AFP)

 

On Wednesday, a young woman held up a bank in central Beirut using a similar modus operandi, in what she said was an attempt to retrieve the savings of her sister, a cancer patient.

Sali Hafiz became an instant hero on social media, and a phone picture of standing on a desk inside the bank during the heist became viral.

Also on Wednesday, a man held up a bank in the city of Aley northeast of Beirut, the official National News Agency reported.

Last month, a man received widespread sympathy after he stormed a Beirut bank with a rifle and held employees and customers hostage for hours, to demand some of his $200,000 in frozen savings to pay hospital bills for his sick father.

He was detained but swiftly released.

Lebanon has been battered by one of its worst-ever economic crises.

Its currency has lost more than 90 percent of its value on the black market, while poverty and unemployment have soared.

2023: How I Will Tackle Insecurity, Crawling Economy – Atiku

Supreme Court To Hear Atiku's Appeal August 20
A file photo of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

 

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, says his administration will address the nation’s security challenges by taking tough decisions if elected in the coming general elections.

With about six months to the polls, the PDP candidate promised to prioritise the revival of the ‘crawling’ economy, especially through private sector participation.

He made the remarks on Tuesday at the Private Sector Economic Forum organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) in Lagos.

“We will take tough and difficult decisions on security matters without fear or favour,” said Atiku who was vice president between 1999 and 2007. “Investment is a coward animal and is fearful of conflicts and insecurity. I will break the jinx in infrastructure financing.”

He decried the level of poverty and the disturbing rate of unemployment which he said were among the major factors fuelling insecurity in the land.

“The Nigerian economy is crawling rather than growing. Per capita income, a measure of citizens’ well-being, has progressively fallen since 2015 because of declining output and a fast-growing population. Nigerians are worse off today than they were in 2015,” he said.

“The oil and gas sector, which is the economy’s lifeline has suffered a decline in 19 out of 30 quarters since 2014. For many economic sectors and for ordinary citizens it still feels like a recession.

“Under the present administration, our people are not working. More than 23 million people are out of jobs. In just five years between 2015 and 2020, the number of fully employed people dropped by 54%, from 68 million to 31 million people.”

 

Nigeria In Borrowed Robes?

Atiku believes the number of unemployed people is more than the population of Lagos, or the inhabitants of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Ebonyi, Kwara and Nasarawa states combined.

He added that the majority of the unemployed were young men and women who lack not only the means to survive but any hope for the future.

For the first time in Nigeria’s history, according to Atiku, the Federal Government paid more in debt service than it earned.

He stated that Nigeria was already breaching one of the applicable debt-sustainability thresholds by spending more than 100% of its revenue for debt service.

The former vice president lamented that capital has taken a flight while policy incoherence and flip-flops, combined with internal insecurity have continued to pose a significant risk to investment and output growth.

For him, Nigeria has lost its esteemed position as Africa’s preferred investment destination to less endowed nations, and the failure of the present administration is staring every Nigerian in the face as the country’s economic, social, political and security challenges persist and assume frightening dimensions.

“More Nigerians are poorer and more miserable today than in 2015,” Atiku lamented.Basic commodities are now beyond the reach of the average Nigerian. A loaf of bread costs 100% more today than it did in 2020.

“Farmers now pay more than 200% more for a bag of fertilizer -if they see it-than they did in 2020. The APC-led government is dressing Nigeria in borrowed robes! Nigeria is broke. Nigeria under the APC-led government has consistently run-on budget deficits since it came to power in 2015. These budget deficits are often above the three per cent threshold permissible under the Fiscal Responsibility Law.”

Economic Hardship: Ghana Slashes Salaries Of Govt Appointees

(File Photo) Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo

 

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo and his ministers have cut their salaries by 30 percent under measures to reduce spending as the country struggles with higher fuel costs from the Ukraine crisis and stalled progress on a new tax, the government said on Thursday.

Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta announced that foreign travel by government appointees, except for critical missions, and the purchase of imported vehicles had been suspended with immediate effect.

He said the government hoped to save around $400 million through the measures.

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Global fuel prices have hit all-time highs because of the Russia-Ukraine war, driving up costs of living and transport in a way that has hit West African countries like Ghana hard.

Ghana’s government is also struggling to raise domestic revenue as gridlock in parliament since last year has stalled the passage of a controversial 1.75-percent E-Levy tax aimed at bringing in additional funds.

“It is important to stress, right from the onset, that the difficulties we are facing in Ghana are not peculiar to Ghana,” the minister’s statement said.

“Governments in both developed and developing countries are busily coming out with various prescriptions to bring their economies back on track, after the devastating impact of Covid-19 which distorted global supply chains, and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.”

Other measures include a 50-percent cut in fuel coupon allocations for all political appointees and heads of government institutions.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) said the decisions were inadequate.

“Our immediate response to the Minister of Finance is to state emphatically and unequivocally that he has lost touch with reality, he is not in-tuned with the state of the Ghanaian economy,” the Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu told reporters in parliament.

Recent data published by the Bank of Ghana indicates that the country’s debt to GDP was 80.1 percent at the end of December 2021.

Neighbouring Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, is also struggling with the twin problems of an unstable power supply and the doubling of the cost of diesel that many businesses use to fuel generators which keep the power going during blackouts.

AFP

Thailand’s Economy Rebounds In Fourth Quarter

People enjoy a drink at a roof-top bar as rain falls in Bangkok on October 21, 2021. (Photo by Jack TAYLOR / AFP)

 

Thailand’s economy rebounded in the fourth quarter of last year on the back of rising exports and the easing of coronavirus restrictions that allowed tourists to return, senior officials said Monday.

The 1.9 percent on-year expansion was more than double what was forecast and marked a strong bounce after a 0.2 percent contraction in the previous three months.

For the whole year the economy grew 1.6 percent, according to the National Economic and Social Development Council, and also beat expectations.

South East Asia’s second largest economy was hit with a 6.1 percent contraction in 2020 — its worst economic performance since the 1997 Asian Economic Crisis.

The NESDC said it saw growth of 3.5-4.5 percent this year as tourism picks up and government spending kicks in.

Council secretary general Danucha Pichayanan said reopening the border to fully vaccinated foreign tourists in November had made some impact.

Nearly 500,000 tourists have visited since November, well short of the country’s target of five million, but the arrivals provided much-needed support to the economy.

The reopening was dealt a blow in December by the fast-spreading Omicron Covid variant.

The NESDC said it expected inflation of 1.5-2.5 percent for 2022.

Mexico Economy Grew 5% In 2021, But Ended In Recession

File photo of Mexico.

 

Mexico’s economy grew by five percent in 2021, but Latin America’s second biggest economy headed into technical recession at the end of the year after contracting for a second-straight quarter, preliminary official data showed Monday.

Economic activity slowed by 0.4 and 0.1 percent in the last two quarters of 2021, compared to the previous three-month periods, according to the data from national statistics institute INEGI.

Analysts Capital Economics said in a statement to clients that the fourth quarter data “confirmed that the economy slipped into a recession over the second half of 2021, and we think growth this year will be weaker than most expect.”

Central bank analysts expect the economy to grow 2.7 percent in 2022.

The Mexican economy had shrunk by 8.4 percent in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic caused mass shutdowns — with 4.9 million Covid-19 cases and more than 300,000 deaths in the nation of 129 million.

INEGI said industrial activity, which represents close to a third of GDP, grew by 6.8 percent last year.

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Services, worth 60 percent of GDP, rose by 4.2 percent while so-called primary activities — such as farming, fisheries and natural resources extraction — grew just 2.7 percent.

Rather than direct aid to businesses, the government of President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has concentrated its pandemic recovery efforts on social programs and investment in public works, such as the new airport in Mexico City and an oil refinery in the southeast.

Used Cars Turn To Gold As Sri Lanka Economy Skids On The Edge

In this picture taken on January 10, 2022, customers look at cars displayed for sale at a car dealership in Malabe, in the district of Colombo. (Photo by ISHARA S. KODIKARA / AFP)

 

Supermarket shelves are bare and restaurants can’t serve meals, but Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a bonanza for used car dealers, with vehicle shortages pushing prices higher than a house in a nice area.

The island nation of 22 million is on the brink of bankruptcy, inflation is red hot and the government has barred a range of “non-essential” imports to save dollars needed to buy food, medicine and fuel.

In the car market, this two-year ban has kept factory-fresh automobiles off local roads, forcing desperate buyers to pay some of the world’s highest prices for beaten-up compacts and no-frills family sedans.

Anthony Fernando spent a recent weekend coursing through sales lots in the Colombo outskirts on behalf of his daughter, who has tried to find an affordable set of wheels for nearly a year.

“She was thinking that prices will come down,” the 63-year-old told AFP, but now she is “paying for procrastinating”.

Prices have gone “beyond the reach of a common person”, he said.

A five-year-old Toyota Land Cruiser was on offer online for an eye-watering 62.5 million rupees ($312,500) — triple the pre-ban rate, and enough to buy a house in a middle-class Colombo neighbourhood or a new luxury apartment in the city centre.

A decade-old Fiat five-seater with a busted engine that might be stripped for parts elsewhere was listed at $8,250 — more than twice Sri Lanka’s average yearly income.

“A car and a house are symbols of success,” said a grinning Sarath Yapa Bandara, the owner of one of the capital’s biggest dealerships.

“That is why most people are willing to buy even at these high prices.”

– ‘Out of this world’ –

Car ownership remains a virtual necessity in the traffic-snarled streets of Colombo, where a ramshackle bus and rail network was already struggling with overcrowding.

The number of taxis has also fallen sharply, with drivers selling their cabs to cash in on the dizzying prices, and those still working charging double their old fares or more.

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“You must have your own car,” said Udaya Hegoda Arachchi, another buyer preparing to bite the bullet at a dealership.

“We can’t expect prices to come down anytime soon, given the economic situation in the country,” he told AFP.

Covid has sent Sri Lanka into a tailspin, drying up all-important earnings from tourism and foreign remittances.

In March 2020 the government brought in a wide-ranging import ban — including for new cars — to stop foreign currency from leaving the country.

But the policy has not been able to staunch the outflow of dollars, and has instead left the nation struggling to source critical goods.

Food retailers have rationed rice, restaurants have shuttered because they cannot find cooking gas, and cash-strapped power utilities unable to afford oil have imposed rolling blackouts. Farmers have run out of fertiliser.

– Chinese debt –

Rating agencies have warned that Sri Lanka might default soon although the government says it will meet its commitments. It is trying to renegotiate its Chinese debts with Beijing.

The import ban has also left car parts in short supply, meaning drivers are at risk of being stranded after a breakdown.

Ravi Ekanayake told AFP that his Colombo repair garage was doing a roaring trade from owners unable to afford the astronomical costs of switching to a new vehicle.

“But parts are scarce. It is a catch-22: You either get caught with an old car without parts or you don’t have the money to buy a new car.”

Financial analyst Murtaza Jafferjee said the prices also underscored a problem caused by excessive money printing by a cash-strapped central bank, with “too much money chasing too few goods”.

He said the prices were also increasing transport costs and adding to inflation, which hit a record 14 percent in December.

“When vehicles become unaffordable for a segment of society, their activities will be limited. Then we will also see a loss of economic output,” the CEO of JB Securities said.

“We are about to collapse and not many people appreciate the depth of the problem.”

[VIDEO] Rewane Breaks Down The Ups And Downs Of 2021

File photo: The CEO of Financial Derivatives Company and a member of the Economic Advisory Council (ECA), Bismarck Rewane.

 

The Chief Executive Officer of the Financial Derivatives Company Limited (FDC), Mr. Bismarck Rewane, on Friday broke down the defining moments of Nigeria’s economy in the outgoing year. 

Rewane, who was a guest on a Channels Television end-of-year programme, captioned, “Year 2021: Battles, Resilience And The New Normal,” detailed the bumps, ups, and downs of the past 12 months.

Watch the full video below: 

S.Africa Economy Shrinks After Riots, COVID-19 Measures

A queue of cars is seen at the Maseru Bridge border post between Lesotho and South Africa on March 24, 2020. Molise Molise / AFP.

 

South Africa’s economy shrank for the first time in a year in the third quarter as the country was hit by riots and tighter Covid restrictions, official statistics showed Tuesday.

After four consecutive quarters of growth, the economy contracted by 1.5 percent between July and September compared to the previous three-month period, the Stats SA agency said.

The contraction eroded “some of the economic gains the country has made since the severe impact of Covid-19 in the second quarter of 2020,” Stats SA said in a statement.

The economy underperformed “under the twin pressures of tighter Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and a spate of civil disorder in July, as well as several other headwinds”, the agency said.

A spree of arson and looting rocked parts of South Africa in July following the jailing of ex-president Jacob Zuma for contempt.

The country, worst-hit by Covid in Africa also tightened coronavirus restrictions that month to tackle a third wave of infections.

Trade, catering and accommodation industries fell by 5.5 per cent.

Manufacturing shrank by 4.2 per cent, while agricultural activity plunged by 13.6 percent, its biggest drop in five years.

Africa’s most industrialised country was in recession when the pandemic hit.

A hard lockdown imposed in March last year brought many industries to a standstill, and rolling restrictions have continued to stifle business.

The economy contracted by a record 6.4 per cent in 2020, but rebounded faster than expected during the first half of this year.

It was predicted to grow by 5.1 per cent in 2021 last month.

Nigeria’s Import Bill Grows As Exports Remain Oil-Dependent: NBS

Exporting crude oil has been Nigeria's main source of revenue for decades. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television
Exporting crude oil has been Nigeria’s main source of revenue for decades. Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

Nigeria’s trade balance in the third quarter of 2021 amounted to a deficit of N3,023.50 billion as the value of imports continued to outpace exports, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday.

This was contained in the NBS’ Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics report.

The deficit was an increase of 26.53% compared to the same period in 2020.

READ ALSO: How We Intend To Build A More Resilient Economy – Buhari

Total imports in the third quarter grew to N8,153.79 billion, showing an increase of 17.32% quarter on quarter and 51.47% on a year-on-year basis.

Export-2021-Q3-Data

 

And total exports were pegged at N5,130.30 billion, which shows a 1% growth compared to the second quarter of the same year and a 71.38% growth compared to the third quarter in 2020.

“Export in the third quarter 2021 was still oil-dependent,” the NBS said. “Crude oil exports recorded N4,026.18 billion and it remained the major product in total exports (78.48%), while non-crude oil was valued at N1,104.1 billion or 21.52% of total exports of which Non-oil products only contributed N546.27 billion representing 10.65% of total exports during the quarter under review.”

Nigeria’s major export trading partners, according to the report were India (14.78%), Spain (12.22%), Italy (8.69%), France (7.08%), Netherlands (4.78).

However, the major import trading partners were China (29.95%), India (8.71%), the United States (7.35%), the Netherlands (6.80%) and, Belgium (5.32%).

Import-2021-Q3-Data

Brazil’s Economy Goes Into Recession

(FILES) File photo taken on March 06, 2021 of closed stores and empty streets after non-essential services were shut down at midnight and until March 20 in the state of Sao Paulo, amid the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Miguel SCHINCARIOL / AFP)

 

Brazil’s economy, the largest in Latin America, slid into recession in the third quarter of the year as agricultural production dropped, the government said Thursday.

GDP declined 0.1 percent for the second straight quarterly fall, the government statistics agency IBGE said.

The drop in the second quarter was revised to a larger 0.4 percent from the initial estimate of 0.1 percent compared to the previous three months.

In comparison to the third quarter of 2020, the economy grew four percent, the agency said.

Farm production fell 8.0 percent in the third quarter, while manufacturing was flat and the services sector grew 1.1 percent, the agency said.

Brazil’s GDP slowdown in the second quarter ended the recovery it had started in late 2020 after the collapse it suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mideast Economy Recovering But Social Unrest On The Rise, Says IMF

In this file photo an exterior view of the building of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with the IMG logo, is seen on March 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP
In this file photo taken on March 27, 2020, the IMG logo is seen on the building of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. Olivier DOULIERY / AFP

 

The Middle East and North Africa are on track to economic recovery, but rising social unrest and unemployment are threatening to hinder “progress”, the International Monetary Fund said Tuesday.

The MENA region, which includes the Arab countries and Iran, saw its real GDP growth shrink by 3.1 percent in 2020 due to lower oil prices and sweeping lockdowns to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

But with rapid vaccination campaigns, particularly in the Gulf nations, the IMF predicted that GDP growth would rise to 4.1 percent this year, a slight upgrade of 0.1 percent from the last projection in April.

“The region is going through recovery in 2021. Since the beginning of the year, we see progress in the economic performance,” Jihad Azour, director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department at the IMF, told AFP in an interview.

But “this recovery is not the same in all countries. It is uncertain and uneven because of the divergence in vaccination… and geopolitical developments”, Azour added.

The IMF said this month that while prospects for oil-exporting economies improved with higher oil prices, low-income and crisis-hit countries are witnessing “fragile” recoveries.

It warned of “a rise in social unrest” in 2021 that “could pick up further due to repeated infection waves, dire economic conditions, high unemployment and food prices”.

Unemployment rates increased in MENA last year by 1.4 percent to reach 11.6 percent.

This rise exceeds that seen during the global financial crisis and the 2014-15 oil price shock, the IMF said.

The fund also warned of the longer-term risk of the uneven recovery, which could lead to a “permanent widening of existing wealth, income, and social gaps and, ultimately, weaker growth and less inclusive societies”.

About seven million more people in the region are estimated to have entered extreme poverty during 2020-21 compared to pre-crisis projections, according to the IMF.

In Lebanon, the continuing drop in the value of the currency has dashed hopes that the government formed last month can stem an economic crisis, branded by the World Bank as one of the worst since the mid-19th century.

Nearly 80 percent of the Lebanese population lives below the poverty line.

“The Fund has already started technical discussions with the authorities… to develop what would be in fact that the framework within which the fund can help Lebanon,” said Azour, a former Lebanese finance minister.

How We Intend To Build A More Resilient Economy – Buhari

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari wearing a facemask.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised that his administration will build a more resilient economy, especially as Nigeria recovers from the coronavirus pandemic that brought the world to its knees.

To achieve this, he assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would continue to implement fiscal measures to improve the nation’s domestic revenues and mobilise external funding support.

The President stated this on Tuesday in his closing remarks at the end of the Mid-Term Ministerial Performance Review Retreat in Abuja.

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According to him, there must be synergy between fiscal and monetary authorities to keep the economy on the trajectory of growth.

President Buhari also promised that the government’s Social Investment Programmes (SIPs) would be sustained in the coming years.

He added that they would continue to reach out to the poorest and most vulnerable households through the national cash transfer programme and other initiatives.

As a result, the President revealed that he has directed the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development to develop a legislative framework for social protection which would also guarantee its funding stream.

Acknowledging the critical role of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in economic growth and development, he said efforts would be geared towards removing all bottlenecks that obstruct access to government support schemes.

The government, according to President Buhari, will also adopt a holistic approach to industrialisation, in line with Nigeria’s aspirations and requirements while working closing with key stakeholders in the private sector.

Meanwhile, he directed cabinet ministers and permanent secretaries to redouble their efforts and work in synergy toward the total delivery of the government’s set targets to improve the livelihood of all Nigerians.

The President also instructed the ministers to ramp up the implementation of their mandates along the nine priority areas of his administration.

Read President Buhari’s full speech at the event below:

CLOSING REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, MUHAMMADU BUHARI, PRESIDENT OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA AT THE END OF THE MID-TERM MINISTERIAL PERFORMANCE REVIEW RETREAT TUESDAY 12TH OCTOBER 2021.

Protocols:
After two days of intensive discussions, we have come to the end of a successful Retreat where we reviewed progress on the implementation of the ministerial mandates along the Nine Priority Areas of this administration.
2. The retreat provided an opportunity for us to undertake an objective assessment of our stewardship in line with the contract we signed with the Nigerian people to deliver on our electoral promises.
3. We reflected on what we have done and identified areas where we need to improve and refocus our attention during the remaining period of our Administration.
4. From the assessment report and discussions at this retreat, I am glad to note that progress has been made towards the achievement of our objectives.
5. The independent performance assessment report presented on day one of the retreat, indicates that significant progress has been achieved in the delivery of the Ministerial Mandates.
6. Distinguished participants, the discussions at the retreat have prompted the need for us to ramp up implementation on the deliverables. We must close the gaps in our implementation efforts to ensure that we attain set targets by 2023.
7. To achieve this, the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is to immediately begin the process of convening quarterly coordination meetings for each priority area based on the collaborative results framework.
This is with aim to ascertain status of implementation across the nine priority areas, identify bottlenecks, and proffer immediate solutions. All Ministers and Permanent Secretaries must be in attendance. These are not meetings to delegate.
8. The Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation is to immediately commence engagement with stakeholders to agree and push forward a framework for the institutionalisation of the Central Delivery Coordinating Unit.
9. All Ministers and Permanent Secretaries are to promote a robust performance culture across their MDAs by setting up intra-ministerial delivery task teams.
10. The Head of Service should as a matter of urgency invest in capacity strengthening of the Planning, Research and Statistics departments in all MDAs. This should be done in collaboration with the Central Delivery Coordinating Unit.
11. Let me assure Nigerians that this Administration will continue to implement fiscal measures to improve our domestic revenues and mobilise external funding support to build a more resilient economy. There must be synergy between the Fiscal and Monetary authorities to keep the economy on the trajectory of growth.
12. Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, issues around expanding access to quality education, affordable healthcare and productivity of Nigerians will be given priority attention within the period of this administration.
13. We will sustain all ongoing efforts in rebuilding our health system through targeted investment in the health sector, especially our vaccination drive to halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
This administration remains committed to providing the education and training required for employment and entrepreneurship, particularly using technology to impact the relevant skills on our youths.
14. Our Social Investment Programmes will be sustained in the coming years. We will continue to reach out to the poorest and most vulnerable households through the National Cash Transfer Programme and other initiatives of Government.
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development has been directed to come up with a legislative framework for social protection that also guarantees its funding stream.
15. In view of the critical role of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in economic growth and development, efforts will be geared towards removing all bottlenecks that militate against access to government support schemes by SMEs.
Government will adopt a holistic approach to industrialisation that is aligned with Nigeria’s aspirations and requirements, working closing with key stakeholders in the private sector. We will continue to support SMEs in view of their multiplier effect on the economy.
16. On the National Single Window Project, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning is directed to ensure all relevant MDAs involved in the implementation of the project complete all processes needed for effective take-off of the National Single Window platform by first quarter of 2022.
17. In our determination to build systems to fight corruption and improve governance, this administration will continue to address the issues that foster corruption and impair transparency in the management of public resources. Efforts will be geared towards improving coordination and synergy between anti-corruption agencies.
18. To improve on our infrastructure development, government will prioritise funding and ensure that all high-priority ongoing infrastructure projects are completed before the end of this Administration. The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund will continue to support the delivery of our legacy infrastructure projects across the country.
19. Distinguished participants, I am confident that the lessons we have learned in the last two years of implementing our Policies, Programmes and Projects will serve as the needed tool to propel every Ministry to remain committed, towards the achievement of our developmental objectives. I therefore charge all of you to step-up, double your efforts and work in synergy toward total delivery of our Administration’s set target.
20. Finally, I would like to thank Secretary to the Government of the Federation and his team for successfully organising this retreat.
21. I wish to also sincerely thank all of the resource persons that have added immense value to this process. Well done and thank you all.
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.